Artist, Writer, Aspiring Astronaut
Founding Director, "Space for Art" (emeritus)
Ian Cion is an artist, writer, & aspiring astronaut living in Berkeley, California.
Ian has over 11 years of experience making large-scale public art in cooperation with severely & terminally ill children & young adults. From 2010 to 2016 he founded & served as the Director of the Arts In Medicine Program at the Children’s Cancer Hospital at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. His work at MD Anderson focused on using art to help patients cope with the experience of cancer treatment, with a special interest in using art as a tool for reducing pain & fear.
In 2015, Ian started the Spacesuit Art Project, in cooperation with astronauts & cosmonauts from multiple international space agencies, including NASA, the European Space Agency, the Canadian Space Agency, the Japanese Space Agency & the Russian Space Federation, & children undergoing cancer treatment in pediatric centers around the world. Working with ILC Dover, who have manufactured spacesuits for NASA since the Apollo era, Ian helped turn the artwork collected in patient art studios he led in pediatric cancer hospitals into replica art spacesuits. This project led to the formation of several organizations, including the Space for Art Foundation, for which Ian serves as a founding director along with Astronaut Nicole Stott.
Two of these art spacesuits have been sent to the International Space Station & worn by astronauts in video downlink conversations with Pediatric Patients from around the world. This endeavor was the first recorded art exhibition in space.
From 2017-2019 Ian served as the founding Exhibition and Program Manager at Rice University’s Moody Center for the Arts.
Ian has taught, lectured, & exhibited internationally for the last 20 years, & is currently developing a new wave of cooperative, multi-disciplinary art works.
*** The entire Space for Art Foundation crew expresses our most sincere gratitude to Ian for the vision and creativity he brought to our space-themed art & wellness projects. While no longer officially serving on the board, we know Ian will be supporting us as we expand our work into the future. And we are excited for the other work that Ian will be bringing to life through his own personal, creative endeavors.***
Check out more of his amazing work at https://thunderbirdastronautics.com/